A recent article I wrote with Charlie Tombazian for Phoenix Score was the subject of Ted Vollmuth’s Examiner article that appeared October 11th. In it he says:
“As in many other articles I’ve read and published regarding business success, these business experts state absolutely that a great deal of discipline, planning, and measuring actions and results are essential to success.”
To see Vollmuth’s complete comments go to:
She was not unlike many others. In fact her challenges were the most common I have seen in over 18 years. Debbie was an accomplished worker. She was smart and motivated and after 5 years in her position she got the nod to head the department. “I loved the recognition. It was what I had been working so hard to get. Finally, I was a manager.” “So, why the long face?,” I asked. “I’ve learned that leading people is much harder than I had ever imaged.”
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch
A Business Fable
Image you’re a mountain climber. Your goal is to scale the world’s top three peaks. Each will require great effort and sacrifice. However, you determine you only have enough energy to climb one. So you choose the most popular mountain. You make it to the top and experience the thrill of success. However, a deep regret sets in when you see the other two mountains you chose not to climb. The Peak you scaled is called “Profit.” The other two: “People” and “Planet.”
The setting couldn’t have been better: The training room windows inside the lodge pole resort looked out onto a thick forest. At the other end of the room cushy leather chairs faced a fireplace. The food was gourmet-organic and during breaks we could take walks on the beach.
The environment was harmonious. Perfect!
For the 15 leaders I was hired to work with, however, the same couldn’t be said: Harmonious with one another they weren’t.
This team was in strife. Over several months of working together, slowly, unexpressed conflict grew. Silence and distrust became overwhelming. And now the tension was as thick as chunky peanut butter.
This team’s issues weren’t unique. Like many other companies, their inability to effectively manage conflict had choked off their innovation and open communication.
These days, everyone’s trying to define “the new normal.” We see it in business journals; we hear it in executive forums: How has the recession changed the rules of business? Have my customers’ expectations shifted? Are my employees looking for jobs elsewhere? How can we avoid missteps from the past?
We’re faced with a choice. We can avoid, and hope things go back the way they were. We can adapt, which may only guarantee survival. Or we can innovate, and elevate the interconnected relationship between Profits, People and Planet. As futurist Joel Barker said,
“Our past success will guarantee nothing in the future. We must challenge old rules and paradigms, and create a new path to the future.”
The space around us effects our thoughts, attitudes and behavior. It also affects how we take in and process information. This last summer we sat in the choir stalls at Westminster Abbey — the 500 year old English church — and listened to choir voices echo and then fade into the Abbey’s ancient spaces. My normally fidgety son was glued to his seat, in complete awe. The summer before we all stood at the base of Yosemite Falls and felt the spray on our faces as we looked skyward through the on-coming drops. Collectively we all took a deep breath.
There was something magical about both those experiences. They put us into what I might call the zone, or a state of flow. And as we all know, being “in the flow” encourages creativity, communication and problem solving.
Corporate environments also have a dramatic effect on the way we think and behave. John Medina in “Brain Rules,” says our typical office environment discourages higher brain functions. Sitting for hours in confined spaces under unnatural light dulls our mental processes and reduces our tolerance levels, creativity and ability to communicate effectively. These spaces promote stagnation, not flow.